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Designer Diary 1 - Inspirations #1

I’ve been working on a new game ever since The Tale of Ord was finished, and I thought it might be time to share some insight into the process. As of now, I’m working toward launching a crowdfunding campaign in the spring of 2020, and will be posting a new designer diary at least every month until then.

voynich manuscript

If I had to pinpoint the spark of inspiration that would lead me to make this game, it would be my discovery of the Voynich Manuscript (one page pictured above). I was reading about undecrypted ciphers when I found it, and immediately dove into exploring this treasure full of plants and stars and other strange drawings. (Thanks Yale Library for making scans of the folios available online.) I read that people were also yet to identify many of the plants depicted in the manuscript, as they seemed to be composites of more than one species — a great puzzle concept if I’d ever heard one.

This led to more research about Prague (where the Voynich Manuscript spent much of its existence, at some point being in the possession of King Rudolph II), a city I love, which also happens to have a rich history of the practice of alchemy. Searching for alchemical manuscript imagery led me down a bizarre and incredible rabbit hole. Without translating the text, many of these diagrams read like puzzles unto themselves, and one could spend many hours pondering their meaning. I used this aesthetic and esotericism as a jumping off point for many of the puzzles in this project.

After beginning the work on this project, I kept in mind an upcoming trip to Prague, during which I tried to learn about its history, searched for more inspiring material, and took photos to use as references, as well as in the game itself. In my next post I’ll talk about the thoughts behind the art in the game!

Where do you find your inspirations?


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